Music is a large part of our culture. It affects us in profound ways. Music can make us laugh. It can make us cry. It can make us want to dance and sing along. The thing most people don’t think about it is the process that goes into making music. Television and movies make it seem so simple and easy. Sure the person making the music usually has some issues but the actual act of creating the music looks easy.
Some poor tortured soul is usually shown sitting at a piano or with a guitar somewhere playing and writing as they go. After some period of time they have written some masterpiece and immediately play it perfectly every time and everyone loves it. These shows and movies do not bother to show the editing of the song, the rewriting and reworking of the music. They don’t show anyone else’s contribution to creating the song, their changes and additions. Also not shown is the practice, the repetition once the song is finished to learn the music.
If you have ever known a musician well, you may have had to be around them when they are learning a new song. It is great at first. You get to hear them play the song that you usually like at first. Like your favorite song on the radio, you get to hear it over and over again. And then like all songs that you hear a little too much, a little too often, you get sick of hearing it. Unlike the radio, if you are around the musician while they’re learning the song, you can’t just turn it off.
You still have to hear the song over and over and over again. It is played and played and played and usually stopped in the middle, started over and played again. There are mistakes. There are wrong chords. There are things that are played too slow or too fast. It is a process, learning a new song. It takes a lot of repetition and a lot of time to perfect. Eventually it will be perfected. The musician will be able to play the song flawlessly and make it look easy to play.
The goal behind practicing a song until you can play it flawlessly is to make it sound great. Music wouldn’t affect us as much if it didn’t sound good. If the guitar player messed up the song in the middle, it would throw us off. It would affect the overall impression the song gives us. If the music itself didn’t go well together, if it was too broken up or uncoordinated, it wouldn’t have an effect on us.
So the next time you listen to a piece of music, whether it is classical, rock or country – take a minute to appreciate the time and effort that went into making that music. Someone, probably a group of people, spent countless hours perfecting the song. They practiced and practiced and practiced to get it just right.
Like all art forms, music takes crafting, it takes talent and it takes a little piece of the creator with it when it is put out there to the public.